It still seems a long way off. But qualification for the World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand begins for Orange footballers in September. The opponents are Iceland, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Cyprus.
By Daniël Dwarswaard
Orange goalkeeper and captain Sari van Veenendaal had previously intended to cross Australia for a few months in a Volkswagen van. But when his footballing career took on serious form, that dream got a little tricky. “Because football never really stops. Obligations with the club, major tournaments in the summer. So it’s always a dream to do something like this. You also have to dream of something, eh. Maybe something for after my career. ”
It doesn’t suit us at all to be proud
But in 2023, the PSV goalkeeper also wants to travel to Australia, which is hosting the World Cup with New Zealand. Not as a tourist, but as a professional to win prizes. At the last World Cup in France, the Netherlands came in second. Qualifying in a squad with Iceland, Czech Republic, Belarus and Cyprus shouldn’t be a problem. The number one qualifies directly, the number two still has a safety net thanks to the play-offs.
Van Veenendaal: ,, Of course we are forced to our booth to get to this tournament. Today, we are the group leader for each draw. We enforced it ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we just do it. It is not at all for us to be proud. It wasn’t that long ago that qualifying for a major tournament wasn’t easy. We must not forget this. ”
Refined training pots
Qualifying matches are often polished practice matches for the Lionesses. Although Van Veenendaal expects this group to be a bit more difficult than the last qualifying for the European Championship in which the Orange barely faced any opposition. “Of course you prefer to play as much as possible against the best countries. But it’s also part of such a long road to the World Cup. In addition, the general level increases every year. ”
The fact that it’s in Australia gives me a little extra motivation personally
The World Cup also seems very far away for Van Veenendaal. Literally and figuratively. In just under three months, the Netherlands will play the Olympic Games for the first time, the last tournament of national coach Sarina Wiegman. In 2022, will follow the European Championship postponed to England, for which Orange has already qualified. So a year later, the World Cup. “We have seen in France how great such a World Cup can be. The fact that it’s in Australia gives me a little more motivation personally. ”
Although she will leave her backpack at home. It could come another time.
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